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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Talented Tuesday...featuring MOMS!

Good morning everyone! I would like to introduce to you a mom who has started a business with her sewing abilities! I LOVE all of her work and her designs are getting noticed everywhere!!! She even has a line at our local boutique, Ever After! Please welcome Khrysten Kent of Khrysten Kent Collection. 

I started making burp cloths about 5 years ago. At the time it was the only item I made. The concept came from my desire to have something nice to pull out my diaper bag that was functional but also attractive. So I used a cloth diaper (functional), and I sewed a soft piece of fabric down the center and trimmed it will ribbon (attractive) and Viola! The first Khrysten Kent Collection item was born!

I did my first show and my line was picked up by Mommy Matters in Fresno. I approached Desi Howard the owner of Ever After in Fresno and she picked my line up also. From there people started asking if I could make baby blankets, lovies, nursing covers, cribbing and custom bedding. That was what made the product line grow into what it is today.

What inspires me most when creating new products is fashion. I study color and trends and see what is coming out and from there decide on what I will bring into my product line and what will go.
  
Balancing my family, my kids schedule and making sure that my husband and each of my 4 children have what they need is always in a constant state of reinvention. What works this week, may not next. I keep God and family first, the business comes after. I don’t have to do this business but it is my creative outlet and I love it.



Some of my favorite pieces that I have created are the big girl blankets. They are new this year and they are more edgy and fun than a traditional baby blanket. I also love the new toile line the “Bebe Fille” and “Bebe Garcon.” My very favorite things though are the single custom items, cribbing and bedding that are specifically designed for a given space and person.


I hope that my business will grow and flourish into a major product line at some point in the future but not at my family’s expense. Once my youngest is in school full time I will look at doing more marketing but for now my website and word of mouth is great.

Keep your eyes out for more big kid blankets I need to create something for the boys too!!!I am in the process of redoing my website so keep and eye for that too.
 www.khrystenkentcollection.com and follow her on facebook at Khrysten Kent Collection



Sunday, March 27, 2011

You can live with 'em, and you can't live without 'em

No I am not talking about husbands, that is another post, another time; What I am talking about tonight is my love/hate relationship with vacuums.  I have never had much luck with vacuums and it seems to have gotten worse over time; time and four children that is.  Growing up we had an Electrolux; gray with a hose and a canister you would pull around. As one of our many chores, we would have to vacuum and I always volunteered. And thus there began my love affair for vacuums. When I first got married I went out and purchased a Hoover Wind Tunnel, bag-less. It was hunter green and around 175.00 from Sears. Hesitant to spend so much on a vacuum I opened up a charge account and made the investment! Hubby-not too thrilled-but enjoyed our clean house. That vacuum lasted 2 years and later sold and a garage sale. It would clog up too much, suction was poor and basically it wasn't doing it for me anymore...the switch from carpet to tile was a pain...you had to stop, turn the dial at the base and then continue on your marry way. So then came the Bissel vacuum that could not only vacuum dry, but wet as well, making it work like a mop! Oh I had to have...200.00 later from Lowe's. I loved it! It would do everything I ever wished for, vacuum tile, mop it, and vacuum carpet. A dream come true, except two kids later would result in broken pieces, too much to fix, and dirty water everywhere when the kiddos would open the compartment...ugh! This vacuum was sold at a garage sale with missing pieces and a non working wet side...so then came the Electrolux-upright vacumm.  $175.00 from Lowe's again...this was so cute and compact...easily put in my pantry. It was easy to pull out and open up and it vacuumed like it was a big vacuum.  But after time I got tired of changing the bag, it was so small...my house is so dirty from four kids that one swoop around the house and the bag was full...and the chord was too short...always had to re-plug.  And then well, you know the story, it was sold at a garage sale...NO...it was given to my dad. Which he has never used. Then came time to borrow a vacuum because funds were low and we couldn't afford one. My dad let me have his dinosaur of a vacuum! It was an Electrolux...100 years old. A commercial one at that so it was for sure to clean this house good! Well, it had a wonderfully long chord, never had to re-plug, it made a horrific sound, and the kicker? Well it didn't vacuum up popcorn, broken crayons, dried pasta or anything for that matter that wasn't a dust ball...oh dear! One day my mother-in-law came for a week to help out with the family.  She had to bring her Oreck...she swore by this vacuum...900.00 gift from papa...oh how it worked fabulously! My house was spectacularly clean! I wanted one-need one-coveted hers! So one day at Target, I see and Oreck! 350.00, not 900.00...had to purchase!!! And so this is where the story ends...since the Oreck last April, it has been in the shop for a clog (20.00) and in the shop again because my children broke the bag clasps and thus unbeknown to me the garbage getting sucked in, was not in the bag, but in the vacuum body! It was a night mare to clean up, and 70.00 to fix! The vacuum shop let me borrow their vacuum for a week...ahhh! I used it all week, cleaned up everything, popcorn a little difficult, and chord too short, but wow on the cleaning overall! In one week the bag (which they opened up to make me see how filthy my house is) was disgusting, but it had picked up everything! Price tag...$2500.00!!! So here I am left with a vacuum the shop described as crap, fixed, but not doing so good. When oh when will I find the vacuum to end the quest of my vacuum fetish! When I do find one that can withstand four curious children, popcorn, long chord, no suction problem, easy change from tile to wood to tile, and one that can never break, I will shout it from a very high place my overjoyed feeling! For now, I will rest with my Oreck and sweep up what it doesn't get, and pray for a vacuum straight from heaven!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday Party Friday

Do I have a treat for you today! I get to share with you a carnival party...I just love carnival parties. Lots of people do them because you can do so much with this theme and keep children entertained for hours! I just love all the bright colors and the fun games that can happen in a carnival setting! Take a look on how Lisa created and put together her carnival party birthday party. She enlisted help from her friend, Michelle, who also had done a carnival party in the past for her daughter. Love when you find a friend with ideas and materials to help out with your party! Recycling themes us a great way to save money as well!!! Lisa wanted to give full credit to Michelle for her ideas and letting her use them! Great job!


 Centerpieces - found all of these things a the Dollar Store except the lollipops.






The carnival games mostly game from Oriental Trading Company.  Can't even make them for the price I paid!  The balloon pop game (not pictured) was a hit too.  I put tiny papers with numbers on them inside balloons and the kids had to pop the balloon to see how many tickets they won.  Even the little kids liked this!  We used small waterballoons for this... minus the water. :)






"The photo booth - also Michelle's idea.  Super simple and great pics to send along with the thank you's"




"Goddie Bags - Dollar Store.  Nothing but a few stickers inside but the kids put their items from the prize table in them to take home."



The cake! Lisa made it too!!! This was all her...love your cake!!!!

Food Table-Fabric covered boxes; fabric was from Michelle and so was the idea.

The Hit the Target game was just ZooPal plates taped to a window and we used nerf dart guns to hit them.  They won the number of tickets printed on the plate they hit.  


Prize Table - Everything was either ordered from Oriental Trading Co. or from the Dollar Store, even the tickets were from the dollar store.





Monday, March 21, 2011

Talented Tuesday...featuring MOMS!

I am so thrilled an excited to be featuring moms who have taken their talent and made it into a small and upcoming business! I love how during this recession, it's the "moms" start-up businesses that have been taking over! So for our first ever feature, I would like to introduce to you Alisa Hopper with All Things Tinsel. I've known Alisa for quite some time and have always thought of her as talented, not only crafty, but her voice and piano skills are amazing too! But today we are going to focus on her crafty side. Love being invited to her luncheons and jewelry parties, because everything is decorated so cute and she pretty much makes everything! Please take some time to get to know Alisa Hopper All Things Tinsel!
What inspires you most with creating?
My mom (a.k.a. Midas). Everything she touches turns to a sparkling, magical piece of wonderment. There is no one in the world like her and she reminds me of the creative side of God...and my dad, who's crazy talented and can build anything out of nothing (and everything). My entire house is filled with things I've either stolen from their house (they weren't using them), or snagged out of the trash because they didn't think they were good enough to keep. I beg to differ.  Other than that, if something catches my attention I figure out a use for it.
What are your favorite pieces you've created and why?
I love the Spring Fling Thing necklace,  Glammy Sparkleson Necklace and all the pieces in that style. I've sold several different versions (and kept lots for myself). I love creating each one.  It's a tangled mess of lovelies and sparkles. There are flowers, rhinestones, birds and chain...what's not to love? It goes with anything and doesn't look like something everyone else has.

How do you balance family/kids, work and everything else?
I don't!  My house is never clean, I rarely do my hair and makeup (unless I'm going somewhere I think I'll see someone I feel needs to believe I'm put together, which is almost never), sometimes I forget to eat (i wish it showed), and I wish, like everyone else on the planet, I had more time to do everything else that needs to get done.  Personally, I don't believe it's easy, or that I can have it all.  But if I put Christ first I'm reminded of what's important (like family) and what can wait (like bracelets).

What do you want to accomplish with your business?
Honestly, creativity brings me closer to the Lord.  I can worship Him while creating things, just like I can with music and prayer.  I try to keep that in mind when I'm up to my eyeballs in orders and 1-3 kids are screaming at each other .  I want to create unique, one of a kind pieces that help women feel as beautiful as they are, and I always keep lots of simpler items in stock that are affordable and realistic for everyone.  It's such a bummer to shop somewhere and love the items, only to see they cost far more than you'd ever spend.

Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I'm loving the multi-strand bracelets with the vintage flowers.  I'm trying to find the time to make them in every color I can think of...but then, I can't remember the last time I took a shower...















Thanks Alisa for this great idea to feature moms and their businesses! Love seeing women and their talent! Here is her link to her Etsy shop...AllThingsTinsel.etsy.com Enjoy! If you would like to share your talent on my blog, please email me...sugarpalooza@sbcglobal..net

Weekly Menu March 21-25

Well, another week, another menu...life keeps going round and round it seems. But here is what we are planning for the jcrew to eat this week. Keeping my motto simple...simple dinners, simple life (I wish) simple days and night! At least the menu will be:) Enjoy your week and all this rain if you are in Fresno this week!

Monday:
Roasted Chicken, Roasted Red Potatoes, Broccoli

Tuesday:
Cheese and Spinach Ravioli (from the freezer section of Costco), broccoli, and some Garlic Bread

Wednesday:
Broccoli Rigatoni in a butter sauce (boil pasta, boil broccoli, saute in some butter and voila!)

Thursday:
Leftovers

Friday:
Pizza Night...haven't had any in quite a while!!!

Seriously...nothing fancy in our household this week...enjoy!!! Lots of broccoli because I have SO much in the fridge right now!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Birthday Party Friday

Rainbow Birthday! Love this birthday party, again from Jessica, the one who did that cute Board Game Birthday party. I love her parties because they turn out so cute, and the budget is friendly and happy for all!!! Take a look and become inspired from this cute party filled with color! Enjoy and Happy Party Friday!!!!
Birthday Girl



We had fruit cups and rainbow jello with a little cloud of cool whip on top.


I used ribbon in each color of the rainbow and attached them to a piece of felt to create a rainbow ribbon runner for the table.


It was such a fun party to plan for. I made a balloon arch for behind the snack table.


Mom made the invites, I just don't have a good picture, but you can tell these were cute!

We had fruit cups and rainbow jello with a little cloud of cool whip on top. We also had rice krispy treats with rainbow colored flags. I set up a table in the backyard with rainbow coloring pages beads in each rainbow color to make jewelry. I used a fun little story about Rainbow Princesses who's job was to make sure the rainbow shone brightly for all the people on land. One day while the princesses were painting their toes, a mean storm cloud came and stole all the colors out of the rainbow. The princesses had to follow the clues to find each color of the rainbow that was hidden in the backyard. We also had a rainbow pinata.
  

The cake was also a huge hit! It tasted great with lemon frosting and looked fantastic. It was a great day!


The snack table was filled with fruit loops and skittles separated in each color of the rainbow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ravioli Bake

So here is a picture tutorial of the Raviolis Bake we made for dinner today! I LOVE how simple, fast, and really a "no-Brainer" this dish is to make...I am kinds laughing that I am posting this picture "play-by-play" but I know how busy we are as mommies and want to reiterate that this dish is a must have recipe for days, months, and years to come...it's lasagna in a flash! You can use any raviolis not just cheese ones, you can use meat, spinach, etc. Homemade frozen ones, homemade sauce, etc. The door is wide open on the endless ways you can make this recipe your own.  The original recipe from Kraft is linked  below, but I compromised on a few things, making fit my day...and my pantry! LOL!

Ravioli Bake:
1/2 pkg of Costco Cheese Ravioli
1 can of Stewed tomatoes cut up
1 cup water
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese
as much Parmesan as you like
1 Jar pasta sauce
Directions:
1. Mix water, stewed tomatoes, and pasta sauce. Place some first in pyrex.
 2. Layer Ravioli
3. Layer Cheese
 4. Repeat

5. Bake at 400 for 30 mins uncovered and when done top off with Parmesan cheese and eat!

Mini Wheats Touch of Fruit coupon

$1/1 Frosted Mini Wheats Touch of Fruit Cereal Coupon

I just got this coupon in my inbox.  It’s a very high value cereal coupon – print this $1/1 Frosted Mini Wheats Touch of Fruit Cereal and save it for a good sale.
Or use it now...Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats are on sale this week at Safeway for $1.77 with in-ad coupon, but I’m not sure if this flavor will be included.  If it is, that’s just $0.77 per box!!! That's a steal...and the link will let you print more than one...at least it did for me:) ***Remember to hit the back button and print a second coupon!***